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It has been 35 years since TVS has been participating (and winning consistently) in the Indian motorsports activities. There is a reason why automobile manufacturers participate in motorsports apart from brand building, and that is to incorporate their learning from the intense competition into their production vehicles and to make them faster and better in every aspect. The learning cycle of the manufacturers participating in the motorsports will always be faster (pun intended) than those who stay away from it because they have no option but to keep innovating and to make their machines better than their competition. Testimony to the above is the TVS Apache RTR 1604V, which TVS says is based on their 8 National Racing Championship winning machine, the TVS Apache RTR 165 GP. The bike was launched recently and we got to ride it at the TVS Hosur plant. Here’s our first impression.
Text: Sunil Gupta
Photos: Mohit Gena
First thing first, there are 3 different variants of the new Apache RTR 1604V – The Fi version with front and rear disc brakes as standard, the carb version with front disc and rear drum brakes, and the carb version with front and rear disc brakes. Also the carb variant with drum brakes comes fitted with 110/80 rear tyre, while the other variants have a fatter 130/70 tyre at the rear.
There are 3 color options available – RR Red, Racing Black, & Racing Blue.
Expectedly, the 160 4V looks very similar to the Apache RTR 200 4V. The bikini fairing from the previous Apache 160 has gone and the bike adorns a sharper headlight upfront with twin LED DRLs and a muscular looking 12 L tank with tank shrouds and an offset fuel lid. The tail also looks sharper. There are new graphics on the new bike with elements like a chequered flag. The new 3D running horse emblem first seen on the RR310 also finds its way onto the Apache RTR 1604V. There is a fully digital instrument cluster sitting on top as well displaying a plethora of information to the rider, including speedometer, tachometer, 2 trip meters, fuel gauge, gear shift indicator, top speed recorder, gear position indicator, clock, and a lap timer.
The instrument cluster on the carb version has a yellow backlight and misses the gear position indicator as well as the lap timer. The one on the Fi variant has white backlight and is ready for TVS’s Bluetooth connect feature as well (similar to what we saw on the TVS NTorq 125 scooter) whenever TVS upgrades this machine. The new bike also has the dual-chamber exhaust seen on the 200 4V. The overall fit and finish and dual-tone glossy paint quality is absolutely top class and reminded me of the paint on the TVS Apache RR310.
The seat on the new bike is a single-piece unit which felt sufficiently comfortable and wide enough to accommodate riders with large body frames. The handlebar now is a flat one-piece unit instead of the clip-on used in the outgoing model and the resultant ergonomics are spot on. The rider sits pretty comfortably yet looks sporty and aggressive without looking too commuterish.
Pricing starts at INR 81,490 ex-showroom Delhi for the base carb/drum variant. The carb/disc variant is available at INR 84,490 ex-showroom Delhi, and the top variant, Fi with disc is available at INR 89,990 ex-showroom Delhi.
Talking about the powertrain, the Apache 160 RTR 4V is fitted with a 159.7 cc, single cylinder, 4-stroke, 4-valve engine that is mated to a 5-speed gearbox and is available in both carb and Fi variants. The Fi variant makes about 16.8 PS at 8000 RPM and the carb version makes 16.5 PS at 8000 RPM. Peak torque remains at 14.8 Nm at 6500 RPM for both the variants. This makes the Apache RTR 4V the most powerful 160 cc motorcycle in the market today.
I rode both the Fi & carbureted variants in quick succession and came back pretty impressed. The engine smoothness and refinement is apparent as soon as you thumb the starter. It feels quicker off the mark and the power is delivered in a very linear fashion. The engine remains punchy and smooth until it reaches very high revs where it begins to show a little bit of vibrations in the footpeg, but it is not a deal breaker. The Fi variant expectedly has crisper throttle response.
TVS claims a top of 114 kmph and I was able to hit that mark repeatedly on the straights of TVS test track before running out of space to go faster. The bike could definitely do a little more than that, around 120 kmph easily on a longer stretch of road. It feels flickable and easy to maneuver but shows its true racing colors when leaned into a corner. There’s only one turn at the TVS track. It is a never-ending type right hander loop where I’ve ridden various TVS bikes during media rides.
The chassis of the Apache RTR 160 4V, which comes directly from the Apache RTR 165 GP keeps the bike rock steady and gives so much confidence that the speeds I was able to carry throughout that turn surprised me. And that right hander loop is bumpy too, which makes you go even more cautiously. But this time, things were different. I could feel the bumps, but they were not enough to shake my confidence while fully leaned in.
A big credit also goes to the suspension setup (rear monoshock & conventional telescopic at the front) which works like a charm with this chassis. Cornering grip from the tyres was also spot on. The braking job is taken care of by 270 mm petal disc up front and the 200 mm petal disc at the rear (133 mm drum), which felt sufficient, but the front brakes felt a bit on the softer side to me. And this was the only negative point that I could think of in this bike.
Conclusion: The TVS Apache RTR 160 4V is a worthy new entrant in the TVS Apache lineage, which has kept the Indian motorcycle enthusiasts happy for more than a decade now. The changes and upgrades in this bike are quite prominent and the new Apache RTR 160 is a much better package overall and will give its competitors a run for their money. It is powerful and has loads of low and mid range torque and the best part is the way it handles. You get the handling of a proper track tool in a street bike, nothing less! And it is a big deal! It is priced quite reasonably and there are options available to match your pocket and needs. So if you are planning to buy a 150-160 cc sports-commuter bike, head out to your nearest showroom and take a test ride before buying any other bike.